T H E E X P A T R I A T E
L E T T E R S.
- - - -
DEAR READERS AND WRITERS OF THE LETTERS SECTION:
We are trying to make this section denser and more impenetrable. There will be longer letters, and less editing. If you feel you are being passed over unduly, you may write more, and more frequently. We are your friends, and will try to listen.
- - - -
Date: Wed, 19 July 2000
From: "Sandra Martini"
Subject: Like Day and Night
You'll be glad to know I gave up that whole utopian dream thing. And never
mention the name Walter to me. Matthau has now made 76 movies and other than
"Against Her Will: An Incident in Baltimore," 1992, I refuse to watch a
So now it's back to the grind, putting my genetic engineering degree to
work. We made some significant breakthroughs recently, though unfortunately,
I've been forced to work with birds again. This time I will not name them.
Fade out. Sterile, light green-tiled laboratory. Day.
A myna bird squats over a pile of shit.
With it's freakishly long legs, this test-tube born fowl has accomplished
the unthinkable: squatting. Traditionally birds have two positions: sitting
and standing. There was no squatting. Until now.
Amazed by this marvel of modern science, I neglected to look where I was
going and stepped right onto the pile of shit over which the myna was
squatting. My legs, which have long been extremely capable of squatting,
although not for increments of more than approximately fifteen minutes
without the onset of what laymen sometimes refer to as "charley horse,"
slipped out from under me. I feared landing with the full force of the
weight of my body on the genetically engineered bird, an act which would
surely wipe out this biological accomplishment and set my colleagues back to
the fertilization stage, so I focused on twisting my head, my shoulders, my
neck, waist and knees in the opposite direction of the little bird. Blinded
by panic, I could see nothing but a brilliant green field of light. Was this
my life flashing before my eyes or the bird's? But in his short lifetime the
bird had never seen anything other than the inside of this laboratory. The
laboratory was green as was my vision, so maybe it was the bird's life I was
viewing behind my eyes. How odd, I thought.
"Away to the right," I called out, hoping that every cell in my body would
obey my command. Distracted by this physical squinching, I lost sight of my
other bodily functions and released my bowels. Warm shit filled my shorts.
Fade to black.
Sterile, green-tiled laboratory. Night.
I don't know how long I was unconscious, but when I came too, someone was
turning on the overhead florescent lights. Natural light was no longer
"What is going on in here," someone with a deep compelling voice demanded to
know. Blinking rapidly to adjust my eyes to the inordinately bright light, I
recognized the head of the genetics department looming above me, sniffing
exaggeratedly to identify the foul stench in the usually sterile high-tech
lab. He'd been drinking again. "Who let that pigeon in and what in god's
name are you lying in, Martini?"
Turning my head to the left, I saw that the bird I'd been unable to avoid
crushing to death was in fact not the lab's prime specimen, but just an
ordinary pigeon. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief and quickly tried to come
up with an explanation for the shit I'd found myself in.
- - - -
Date: Tue, 18 July 2000
From: Major Timothy McWeeney
Subject: No escape from the workplace
The old man was soaking wet, lying on his side on the staircase in a
wetsuit, flippers, and a scuba tank, hugging a feisty salmon. When he saw me
he straightened up as though in preparation for a plucky game or performance
of some kind. "Beat my stupid head in! Beat my stupid head in!" he shrieked.
It seemed to be more of a formality than an actual invitation, like when an
old friend from college that you haven't seen in a long time runs into you
on the street and says, "Let's get together for dinner sometime and then
huff gasoline and murder a few people." I kicked him over on his back to get
a better look. Just as I suspected: old Tim, Patches. Out here on the filthy
back stairway where the food court employees come to smoke hash and do yoga.
"Damn it grandpa! You know I can't abide family at the workplace!" Actually,
I hadn't really suspected it was him. A) The old man can barely walk, much
less with flippers and a 60-pound tank. B) Born blind with congenital
syphilis; hence "Patches." 3) Ever since 1997 he's has been sleeping in a
fish tank. It's the Internet: "that crazy doohad they got there in the
Pentagon! Gotta minimize the radons! Get underwater!" Over the years he
likes to have "fishies" inside. Hence, why he was here in the mall was
something of a baffler. It would remain one. Just then he keeled over dead.
We hadn't spoken since I last humiliated him at Ping-Pong down at the
whorehouse, the old man waving his paddle blindly, so I was in no mood to
deal with his corpse. I said a quick prayer and left him. As a kind of last
minute assignment before returning to the punching booth, I decided to go
buy something with cash. Maybe some fresh grapes to turn into chewy raisins
that I could then resell at a higher price to my eager assistant,
Spontaneous Ernie. He likes to sneak them into his nostrils and ride up and
down in the elevator without pushing any buttons. "People react to it
strongly!" Once I caught him in there doing it and he started to cry. Said
that I'd ruined everything. Since then I've been taking the stairs. Not
because I care, but because I don't want Ernie to have a seizure. All that
vomiting. That's why I was out there, feeling around on Patches' wetsuit to
see if he had any cigars. I grabbed his diving mask and put that on instead,
watching as the salmon slipped from his gnarled fist like a Slinky and
started down the stairs. "See ya Patches." I turned to follow the fish, down
the stairs and out onto the loading dock. There was a dumpster out there
that a group of homeless toddlers lived in. Sometimes I would bring them
biscuits and watch them fight. I stood in the shade and surveyed the bright
parking lot, then down the cripple ramp and over to the Quickie Mart.
I am standing in front of the Quickie in the July sunshine, squinting with
my bunches of grapes, rubbing my upper lip. Due to all the bruises, I have
decided to hide behind a mustache. It has yet to grow, but I am patient. I
carry a comb in my back pocket so I can begin to brush it as soon as it gets
long enough. Over by the side of the drainage ditch the bus is just creaking
to a stop in front of a long line of shifty looking shoppers. None of them
actually board. I contemplate running over and getting on the bus myself. I
have always wanted to go to Mexico. Down there everything is easy. All it
takes to become a mayor is a squirt gun, some lettuce with dollars signs on
it, and an ID drawn on a cocktail napkin. I have a dream of recruiting the
local population into slavery by luring them onto barges under the guise of
monthly spelling B competitions. Winner gets a plate of rice. It could work,
I think. I imagine living on ketchup sandwiches and perhaps writing a bit --
something ridiculous, in ketchup, on the sidewalk.
These thoughts escape from my ears like stray bullets. The bus takes off and
the long line of people remains. They remove their sunglasses and look at
me. They walk toward me in single file, evidently hungry for my grapes. For
the last hour I have been trying to dry them in the hot sun to make raisins.
"Go on home, brother," the first man says to me. On his hands are oven
mitts. "Afternoon," says another, touching the bill of his baseball cap. The
woman behind him takes her sports paraphernalia a bit more seriously. She
wears a hockey mask, goalie pads, and rollerskates. "Don't disappoint me,"
she says, holding out her gloves for grapes. "It's 3:15 in the afternoon and
I've already forgotten why I'm here," says the fourth man. He is dribbling a
basketball which he suddenly wails at my face. The blow is sudden and my
head knocks into the brick wall, causing me to withdraw into my happy place,
an old dilapidated football stadium filled with marching rodents playing
tiny band instruments. "Jeez," I say, smiling broadly as I touch my bruised
cheek. "You could have told me to think fast." He is dribbling again with
both hands at once, hopping up and down as he bounces the ball. "Oh," he
says. "That was what I was trying to remember." Then he goes, "Watch this!"
He sinks his teeth into the basketball and pops it. "Nice one," I say.
"Wanna grab a turkey dinner and then huff gasoline and murder a few people?"
He nods 10 or 30 times and then hops away.
The line goes on and on. It is quite long and growing. Its roots and
tributaries extend into other streets. People are leaving bus stops in
droves to come and beat on me. They are forgetting about their sports
programming to try out their fists at boxing. The man with the oven mittens
holds back my arms. These people have eaten all my grapes. Even small
children are taking shots. It's the toddlers from the dumpster, heaving
cinderblocks. Apparently I cannot escape my job even when I'm outside the
building. It is evening now and the buses no longer stop. They know when
it's futile. They circle their routes at high speeds, showing off their
empty yellow interiors. People light torches. As it gets darker, Patches
steps up to beat me over the head with the salmon. Apparently he is not
dead. Up in the sky, a satellite slows and falls. It burns to nothing in a
flash. Shit, here they come with a battering ram.
My work is never done,
Major Timothy McWeeney
- - - -
Date: Mon, 17 July 2000
From: "Tristan Brummagem"
Subject: Decorum: Dropped.
Greetings from Kazakstan.
I greatly appreciated your recent letter, but perhaps you have me confused
with someone else. While I certainly have strong feelings on the topic at
hand (not sure if that pun was intentional), I have never participated in
message board discussions on masturbation -- not that I'm averse to doing so
(either discussing the topic in an online forum or practicing the
aforementioned act). Sounds like you are the recipient of false information
on a number of fronts. If you are indeed a victim of blindness and
hair-growth on your palms, I can assure you that this is not due to any form
of self-flagellation. I myself have done the one-handed deed for as long as
I can remember, at least since the first time my mother left me alone in the
shower, and have never noticed any adverse side effects (constipation,
difficulty breathing, pernicious anemia, cramping, heart palpitations,
charley horse, hallucinations involving lesser deities, juvenile arthritis
and nausea have all been attributed to sugar pill). So yank away, my friend,
yank away, I always say.
On to your proposed topic of discussion: Quality. While I have never read
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," I do own a copy. It rests on a
portion of my bookcase where I have stacked, one on top of another, books of
a diminutive dimension, a particular size commonly referred to as
mass-market paperbacks. While it may be questionable whether this
publication is fit for consumption by the masses, it has long been printed
in their format. The book's cover is in a pale shade of pink, much like that
of the liquid penicillin I oft consumed as a child. For years I was
repeatedly affliction by strep (Streptococcus) throat and I rather enjoyed
taking this fluid form of penicillin, which to me tasted of juniper berries.
Perhaps this particular predilection explains why I was struck with strep
throat so frequently, until the day our family physician administered a shot
of penicillin in my posterior, and although I fondly remember the aftermath
of this injection, when my father took an unprecedented day off from work to
accompany me to the doctor's office and afterwards to McDonald's for a Happy
Meal (my first ever with cheese!), the force with which that needle entered
the fleshy region of my rear, successfully rid me of this childhood
indisposition. Incidentally, a childhood friend of my father was chosen, due
to his work with molds in a fifth grade science project, to participate in
the groundbreaking development of penicillin along with a team of scientists
at Princeton University. You may find it interesting to know that this boy's
name was Ira Jack Cohen. Another childhood friend of my father recently won
the New York State Lottery for a sum of 11 million dollars (before taxes).
I'm afraid I can't provide you with his given name (which has been optioned
by the state), but in our household, this lucky individual was solely
referred to as The Beast. And now the state supported numbers racket may be
worth our time after all, but I digress. Perhaps in my rambling way, I have
actually answered the questions you posed. Is Quality a product of one's
life or is it in the living of life? Well indeed, as Life is in the details,
details like those mentioned above, Quality is in these particulars. As we
all have details in our lives, do we not, does this tautology lead one to
believe that all our lives are of Quality and are thus worthy of
consideration on the level of an advanced philosophical discourse?
Another similar topic I have strong feelings about is smells. Here's a
curious question which perhaps you could shed some light on: if the smell of
shit lingers in the bathroom for lengths of time often in excess of half an
hour, then why does the smell of shit not linger on the shitter (unless of
course the shitter shits in his or her pants, not in a bathroom)? And why
have I never previously contemplated this conundrum? Did I take it for
granted that if no one bore witness to my timely retreat from the men's
room, then no one would know I was the one who dropped the fetid load?
Perhaps. Or perhaps this is a koan which requires further examination. This
evening I shall read your little motorcycle book and endeavor to move beyond
my limbic blindness.
In reference to your post-script, it has been said that a man must do many
things in the name of vodka. Irregardless, after excessive consumption of
vodka or other forms of alcohol, some individuals have been blessed with the
ability to move beyond a certain level of consciousness and experience a
state commonly referred to as a "black out," and thus eliminating
embarrassing memories which may or may not cause guilt and/or regret. I,
however, am not one of these lucky people. I can recall every single thing I
have ever done in any and all compromised states of intoxication. Now some
may say I am better off with my ability to remember in tact, but the look on
those children's faces, as I vomited all over their sonsy little dog while
giving him a hand job, is something I could certainly live without.
PS - Onan Portable Power Generators are irrefutably the best on the market
- - - -
Date: Mon, 17 July 2000
From: "Ceres O. Ulalume"
This has come to my attention. I am amused. Take, if you will, a collection
of statues, say twenty, many of porcelain though some must be of cheaper
clay. Boxers: poised, alert, yet comical because an ear is chipped here,
half a leg missing there. What does this mean?
And then a photograph of a man, in black and white. Wire-rimmed glasses, you
can see how thick the lenses. Ah benevolence is his expression! Not pure and
sweet, the knowing kind. I know what you do and think and I am letting you
get away with everything, he says, the corners of his mouth hidden in the
creases of his jowls.
Or another photograph. This man too wears glasses but the photo is browning.
His face is tense. He is handsome.
How we met: I was waiting to cross the street last night at 8:37 in the
rain. I never made it to the other side. A police officer directed traffic
from four directions efficiently, bored. He saw me immediately but allowed
another round of cars through before addressing his duty to shepherd me
across unscathed. He was chivalrous, considerate, impassive, fair. I
developed a crush on him as the four cars splashed by. He nodded to me then
with his arms outstretched, white gloves, authority. Holding back the rush
of impatient drivers who scowled at each other asserting their right to be
first as soon as his fingers bent. He watched me as I began my crossing.
Muddy water sloshed from the gutters so I had to jump out about three feet
to reach unpuddled pavement.
Buoyant with sudden power, the ability to prevent these people, the drivers,
from accessing the rest of their lives, I told myself to slow down, to
savor. I stepped gingerly, pretending to protect my shoes. This was
effective. I could feel their glares on me now, torn from what they realized
had become future obstacles, trying to pierce me, their new immediate
obstacle. The police officer not counting here--a machine. I grew excited
and boldly stopped in front of him, my officer standing in the rain, and
looked up at his face shadowed beneath his cap.
I did not look him in the eyes, afraid that I would break, but I saw that
they were clear grey blue with dark rays shooting out from the pupil and
even darker rims. Alert, intelligent, possibly sly. His skin was damp and he
smelled of wet leather and shoe polish. I leaned down to fix the strap of my
sandal and he reacted, reaching out to catch me, assuming I was falling.
Maybe he was accustomed to women swooning. A car stole this brief faltering
to tear through the intersection, extra fast. My officer recovered quickly
and raised his hand again, met each drivers' eyes, especially stern with the
new driver to the North, and commanded each of them to wait.
I was covered in mud splattered from the tires of the rogue. I could feel it
drying on my lips but dared not lick them. Could feel it sticking to my
eyelashes and tried not to blink. He saw this and did the most dreamy thing.
He briefly withdrew his hands from the traffic world and placed them on my
shoulders, turning me gently around, away from him, then pulling me in
close, embracing me with his orange slicker. For another hour or so we went
on with his job, spinning, marching about in the center there, directing,
waving and nodding the cars through, orderly. I had to step with him, spin
with him, make way for his elbows.
I clasped the raincoat shut around us and hid, powerless now. Once I tried
standing on his shoes to make the choreography less complicated, but they
were too slippery so I stepped between them. I don't think anyone could see
me there, head down, arms grasping his pants behind me, beaming. No one else
crossed the street during the rest of his shift. No cars crashed.
Can you picture us there? No, you can't see me, beneath his orange slicker.
But I am there, and this is only the beginning.
Ceres O. Ulalume
- - - -
Date: Wed, 10 July 2000
From: "Sandra Martini"
Subject: Rules of the Outcast
We formed our own principles of civilization after three weeks on the raft.
What had started out as voluntary solitary, turned into a mad dash for
freedom when that dirty bird landed on the stern of my vessel. Everything
seemed to be fine at first. The bird just sat there looking up at me like a
man so drunk, he'd forgotten his own name, rank and serial number. He didn't
beg for a thing, but I gave the frisky little fellow some of my trail mix
anyway (ocean voyage flavor, the kind with the dried pineapples and coconut,
even though we were out on an oversized pond), and after he cleaned himself
off, I named him Walter. It was clear that Walter was no bird of pry; this
was obvious due to his endless taste for pineapple, which we all know is the
fruit of peace and love.
After a few days, Walter became comfortable enough to let me pet his soft
gray feathers, but he balked and jumped back when I tried to touch the white
ones on this throat. That pale spot, white as a bridal shower, is his most
attractive feature, a true asset, so I did understand that he wouldn't want
me to smudge it with my greasy fingers. It was presumptuous of me to try to
touch him there in the first place.
So as I said, things were going great. Walter let me use his beak to do some
writing. It fit perfectly into my ink well and the point was much finer than
those on any of my pens. Some day I planned to teach him how to write on his
own, but for the present, we were both happy as I gently held his body like
a pen, and being careful not to touch his gorgeous neck, I composed long,
long letters to my local governmental representatives. Walter and I were a
great team. We were really going to make a difference locally, and in the
none too distant future, globally.
Then one day, without any provocation that I could ascertain, Walter started
pecking little holes on the side of my raft. That was not helpful. My raft
was a pretty sturdy one, rubber thick enough to subjugate some of Maine's
tougher rapids, but everything has its breaking point, even my patience for
a nice guy like Walter. And now I'm laying down the ground rules, or water
rules as the case may be. But if I'm anything, I'm a fair shooter, so I'm
letting Walter have a say in the preparation of the principles by which we
both have to live. He's helping me with the physical writing, so he might as
well assist with the content too.
Let's just pray that Walter can stick to these principles or I'm gonna be
all over that pretty little neck of his.
Specifics to come.
- - - -
Date: Wed, 10 July 2000
From: Walter Krinchlette & Harry J. Tipple
Subject: A lesson in morality from Walter Krinchlette & Harry J. Tipple
Here is a story meant to provide a little basic spiritual and moral guidance
for your readers:
The reverend took the dish full of cocaine and stuck his plump finger into
it. He rolled his eyes in anticipation and brought his coke-laden finger to
his dilated, bloodstained nostrils. He inhaled deeply. "Now you see it. Now
you don't," he chortled in his deep voice, rising up from the layers of fat.
Dandy was scared. He brought out a knife, concerned that the old pederast
was wasting the product again. "Get your damn finger out. I don't even want
to know how long it's been up your ass today. Let's act like civilized folk
and cut a few lines on this bible." The reverend dumped some coke onto the
bible. Dandy took his knife and started cutting the coke into nice lines.
The reverend yelled, "Watch what you're doing dipshit, you'll cut into
genesis. That's my favorite part!" "Your not even a real reverend," said
Dandy, "so shut the fuck up or you wont be gettin' any." "You're a potty
mouthed little boy."
Dandy was careful as he laid out the lines. He imagined the reverend pulling
off his cassock to reveal two short men, each of them also in cassocks, who
would then pull off their cassocks to make four, each with a greedy straw.
Dandy would stab them all and hang them up by Jesus. He did a big line. "Did
you say potty?" he said. A second later he was on the altar, dancing,
basically just standing in place waving his hands back and forth across his
swinging knees. "That's right old man. It's potty time!"
"Get off the stump. Your embarrassing the birches," said the reverend. He
started to waddle toward the coke and tripped over a root, smacking his face
into the bible which rested on top of the giant stump that Dandy was dancing
on. Powder scattered everywhere. The reverend rose with a white face flecked
in blood. Dandy kicked him in the mouth and jumped on top of him. He began
to lick his face clean. "Don't waste the product." Soon his tongue was numb
and hung stiffly from his mouth. He remained perched on the reverend's
chest, panting, his heart going nuts like a windup toy. If there was one
thing Dandy didn't like it was wasting the product. He tried to repeat the
word, "product," but couldn't make Ts or Rs with his tongue stuck out like a
slab of beef jerky. "Pwoduck," he said. Why he even called it that was a
mystery. What they had was not for sale. It had strictly been scored for
their own consumption. First he and the reverend had nearly killed each
other trying to rob the same church. Then they'd joined forces to hold up
the Pizza Hut where Dandy worked. Now they were in the woods.
"Yo face is all pfukt up, wevwand. What xhappened to ya? Did jezus get pist
at ya fow dwinkin da holy wata?" Dandy's tongue flopped around his mouth
like a fat dying carp. His heart was about to burst from the combination of
coke and LSD they had dosed themselves with to get the bravery to stick up
the Pizza Hut. "Ya needs somfin for yo fass." Dandy pulled out a squirt
bottle full of the grease that he'd stolen from the Hut for his lunch and
unleashed it onto the reverend's face. "Yummy," said the reverend. "They
don't call you Dandy for nothing." Meanwhile, Dandy had out a pocketknife
and was slicing off a useless string of tongue. He tied it around the
reverend's greasy neck and tried to strangle him with it. Suddenly, rolling
through the trees in a ball of light, Jesus appeared. He hovered above the
cocaine dish and made the piles multiply: a drug fiend's wildest dreams.
>From his robes, he produced a giant straw of 2-inch diameter PVC piping. He
crammed it into a nostril like a bazooka. As he began to suck, a whirlwind
of cocaine took shape, a blizzard of white. "Have you ever seen so much
product?" said Dandy, doing his funny dance again, his heart now beating at
1000 beats per minute, his tongue already healed. "It's a miracle!"
"Of course it's a miracle," Jesus snorted. "Everywhere I go there's a bloody
miracle! Sick of miracles. Life is a miracle. Getting up is a miracle."
"Sure is," mumbled the reverend, his face buried in the white powder. "I'll
show you a fuckin' miracle," scowled Jesus. He shoved the pipe further up
his nose and really inhaled, taking all of the cocaine into his body. Their
hair moved. "That's a miracle, boys. Fuck yo dad!" Jesus yelled. He raised
his fists toward heaven. "You took all of the product!" cried Dandy. The
reverend looked pissed. "Come here reverend and take my pulse." Jesus
beckoned. Thou wilst see the miracle. The reverend stumbled over and placed
his finger on his neck." "Slow as gravy," he intoned. "Now cover your eyes
for a big surprise," hummed Jesus.
Like young children in their jammies under the Christmas tree, Dandy and the
reverend placed their sweaty palms over their bloodshot eyes. Jesus quivered
with excitement. "Okay, now open them." They did. Jesus had turned into a
rusty bus. "Neat," said Dandy. He rapped his knuckles on the chipped side
and kicked a tire. "Ouch," said Jesus. "That hurts." The reverend struggled
to fix his hair. He wanted to look good for the bus. "This looks like a 65
greyhound," he chimed. "I'm a magic junkie bus," said Jesus, making engine
noises. "Hop in." Dandy pushed away the reverend, hoping to be the first
inside. "First in the junkie bus," he chirped. The reverend was too fast and
jumped in first.
When Dandy stumbled in a few seconds later he noticed that the reverend was
hunched over a mirrored table. He ran over and pushed him away. "Damn you
reverend!" he screamed. Once again the reverend had beaten him to the
product. On the reflective table were the remains of several piles of coke.
Not enough for a freeze. The reverend had smacked down his face and snorted
them up his nose directly. As Dandy stared at his image in the filmy table
and the reverend convulsed on the floor, neither noticed that the bus had
begun to lift from the ground and rapidly ascend along a shaft of heavenly
light. Up and up they went, Jesus making engine noises. Dandy stared at his
reflection and wished he had some more LSD. In the best engine voice that he
could muster, Jesus said "Dandy, the mind is a powerful thing, believe and
thou shalt be set free. This table is not what you think it is." "I believe!
Help my disbelief!" prayed Dandy. He reached out to touch his reflection.
When his hand touched the table it rippled. "Don't tell me!" "Yes," said the
Lord. "Don't tell me!" "Praise me," said the Lord. "Liquid vitamin A!"
shouted Dandy. His hands flitted in front of his face, now ten sets of
hands, now 600, in and out. Now the bone was on the outside and the veins
hanging off like gummy worms. "Ingested like a frog through my skin. Liquid
Sky Denver is the code word for the best acid this side of Heaven. Reverend,
you have try this?" Dandy picked up the table and brought it closer to the
reverend. "Oh no!" wailed Jesus. "Brace yourselves."
There was screeching of tires and a thud as the bus rammed into a brick wall
of infinite thickness and height. Dandy spilled the liquid table onto the
reverend. "Oops," he said. There was an angel standing in front of the wall.
He had a silver trumpet etched with the name Gabriel. He wore a black hockey
jersey and a red bandana. When he saw the accident he smiled, revealing a
row of diamond-studded gold teeth which shined like a thousand suns. "Lucy
in the Sky with Diamonds," sang Dandy. The reverend smacked him. The bus was
in mangled pieces but Dandy and the reverend were fine, their blood filled
up with liquid acid. "Yo, whuddup G?" said Jesus. He spoke in the voice of
Tupac Shakur but it was not clear just where he was. Gabriel's wings
twitched in confusion until he noticed that the voice was coming from a
burning pile of twisted metal. In the middle of it was the bus radio.
Gabriel laughed. "Chillin' Zeus." He bent down, reached into the wreckage,
and turned the radio off. "Now that we're alone, I need to tell you boys a
Gabriel bent down closer to speak, his teeth just a few feet away. The
diamonds blazed in the reverend's eyes. "Lucy," he said. "So much Lucy could
buy me a lot of snow. I could be living in a blizzard for the rest of my
life." He reached out and grabbed a hold of one of the diamonds and yanked.
"Don't do that, rev. Thou knowest not what thou dost." "Dust? Where the
dust?" cried Dandy. "I need to dissolve some into my veins to suck up the
Liquid Sky Denver." "You are both in terrible danger. What is up is down and
what is good is bad. In other words, that aint jesus yo drivin with." "What
the fuck?" said the reverend. An image filled his mind of he and Dandy lying
on the forest floor by the stolen Dodge with it's doors hanging open and its
battery long dead, surrounded by Pizza Hut boxes, pine cones, and the silly
disguises they had used for the hold up -- the big ears, the pig and
elephant noses, the glow-in-the-dark skull. He looked over at Dandy, his
eyes straining in their sockets as though he still had on the goofy eyes,
and noticed that Dandy was still wearing the horrible hand and bubba teeth.
Gabriel was gone and it was beginning to get warm.
"Died of an overdose," he thought. The sky was shot with red and the
churning clouds were beginning to reek of sulfur. Dandy tugged at his hair
and a clump came out with some brain attached to it. "Dandy," whispered the
reverend. "Do you know who Lucy is?" Dandy looked absolutely terrified. One
of his eyes popped out and landed in his hand. "Lucifer!" blurted the
reverend. The ground turned to white powder and they were both instantly
sober with a gnawing in their stomachs for more. They were standing waist
deep in the cocaine. The reverend bent down to sniff it up but when he did
the coke lowered just out of his reach. He tried again and again, sniffing
harder and harder until he hyperventilated and fainted without falling over.
Dandy looked on in horror with his one eye and bent down to gain some powder
confidence. The same thing happened to Dandy and he couldn't reach the
cocaine. He hyperventilated and fainted standing up as well. Above, Lucifer
shone in the sky with the diamond-studded teeth of Gabriel around his neck.
Round one: Satan.
Thank you for your patience,
Walter Krinchlette & Harry J. Tipple
- - - -
Date: Mon, 09 July 2000
From: "Timothy McWeeney"
On the battlefield, the smoke lifted up her skirts like granny McWeeney at
the Burger King, looking for a free meal. We had just trounced the enemy and
I was clearing the noodles from my eyes. As far as I could see, rats were
getting busy on the corpses, twisting them into the shape of angry letters
to the editor, feasting. Blood Clown was there, on his hands and knees. He
too was feasting. He had come from the S & M club to help in our fight, but
left early, slapping on his rubber nose and leg shackles and jogging back up
the highway. With my pink whistle and chopsticks, I was ready for another
battle. Something more civil. A gentleman's duel. A fight to the death with
Suddenly a rodent was dancing on my face. He pawed at my eyes, driving me
into a shrub secured by a length of chain. Obviously this was Ratso, my best
soldier. Perhaps he was displaying affection of some kind. He was wearing a
diaper and a curly blue wig and his breath reeked of liquor, goat cheese,
and blood. "What the fuck you little fuck?" I said to him. But then I
realized, "Ah. The hedge-born maggot is just celebrating." I mussed his wig.
"Yes Ratso. Victory!" No, that was not it. "A message from on high sir,"
says the rodent, briskly saluting. "Bad news I'm afraid. The General has
been demoted." The words bounced off my ears and landed at my feet. "What
Ratso?" Distracted, I bit his head off. I was chewing then. "You say
No matter. Just as a crocodile always grows new teeth to replace the old
ones, there is always a new corpse to get silly about. Hence my bib and
homemade dentures. Moreover, a demotion suits my new profession at the mall.
Me and my friend Spontaneous Ernie work in the food court at Fisty-Fun: the
new human punching booth. People come by to unwind and listen to pop music.
Ernie and I are old pals so it works out neat. "Spontaneous" comes from the
fact that he's a 300-pound epileptic covered with another 50 or so pounds of
body hair. While Ernie holds back my arms and chews on crackers, I go limp
and stick out my chin. "Hit me with all you got," I scream at the customers.
Comes the response, "I'm gonna break ya little faggot jaw!" Always some
pansy whimpering with a monkey wrench.
At lunch the line goes all the way up the escalator. People hold their place
by walking in place backwards, clenching their fists, jamming out to Big
Punisher and Babyface. They grin in anticipation of the chance to pummel an
old man in desperate need of attention. Well, not that old. But you know,
life takes its toll. Too much gasoline and scarification. Too much rat fur
for breakfast. This job is easy though. All I have to do is absorb the
punches while the pussies bounce their Nurf knuckles on my chest; drift off
into fairyville and try not to look like I'm enjoying it. Plenty of time for
For example, unbeknownst to Spontaneous, I actually have childhood memories
of once being extremely popular. Such as the time I first had sex with a
toddler. I was 4. Lucky little tramp was my own sister so it hardly counted.
Achievements like these set the tone early for McWeeney. Take my new
13-year-old wife. She is hot! She drinks nothing but Mountain Dew. I call it
Gatorurine. Sometimes I remember the days back in junior high when I ruled
all of Westchester. I was the first bold enough to set himself on fire, egg
his own house, and listen to hardcore gansta rap while torturing small
animals in the microwave. None of the other wussies would put a fork to
those chewy hip-hop casseroles. No lemons. But I bit right through the fur.
Never lost the taste neither. My wife knows about it. She finds out
first-hand when she comes to the booth 3 times a day for a quick fuck in the
storage closet. Not like the last whore who never left the brothel. So
McWeeney is a happy man. Barely conscious, yes, bleeding from every orifice,
but happy. Sumbitches oughta clone my ass. Create a race of sicko mutants
for use in the home and school.
Completely unrelated it is dogs that I hate. For a short period of time I
was blind. Cats I understand, but people don't believe it when they see you
being led around town by a seeing-eye cat. The reason that Ernie pins back
my arms is because people would rather beat on the helpless. Me and Ernie
understand this. He, because he's the Spontaneous: a fat slobbering
epileptic. Me, in the indistinct memories of my laughing father: a blind
homeless crack whore. Also from my days as a bully. In my mid-30s I
terrorized every nerd 10-year-old I saw on the street. Goddamn hippies.
That's how come I lost my eyesight for a year or two. Too many headbutts.
But listen, I love this new job. Fuckin' A, I got near constant ticking in
the inner ear but who doesn't? A cockroach can live for several weeks with
its head cut off. Then it dies from starvation. Come on down with some
whisky and a baseball bat.
I am begging, please take a shot,
Major Timothy McWeeney